Catholic in 60 Seconds

In case you missed it, I launched my new project Catholic in 60 Seconds almost two weeks ago. Since then I’ve recorded and published two episodes, and set up a Facebook page for you to like: https://www.facebook.com/Catholicin60Seconds/

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Here’s a direct link to Episode 02 “Body of Christ” for your convenience: https://mixstep.co/7iltlpmlr9om

Give the page a ‘like’ and/or ‘follow’ to stay up to date with new episode uploads, announcements, etc.

God bless.

 

Announcing an exciting new project…

Folks, it’s been a while, and there’s good reason for that:

I’ve started teaching at a new school. Praise God!

I’ve also moved to a new house with my family. Praise God!

Suffice to say, it’s been a hectic start to the year, but I’m happy to announce my new project: Catholic in 60 Seconds.

In short, Catholic in 60 Seconds will be a series of audio clips (approximately 60 seconds in length each), with something informative, educational, and edifying about the Catholic faith. I recorded my first/pilot episode only minutes ago, and I’m thrilled to premiere it here.

By my own admission, I was very nervous so my voice may seem shaky. I’m absolutely green when it comes to mixing audio, so please forgive the “roughness” of this first instalment. Hopefully, though, it will give you an idea of what to expect in the future.

The hope is to create one episode each week, time permitting of course. I do have a responsibility to my full-time work as a teacher to give priority to.

Your feedback is welcomed, and please do write in to suggest topics to cover.

So without further ado, here’s Episode 1:

https://mixstep.co/0d6i81r4977h

God bless.

Handing it all over to God…

As I write this, I find myself dealing with a great level of fear and anxiety. There’s something going on in the background that could warrant a major life change, and it’s all in the hands of other people. These people will decide my fate. In the mean time I’m trying ever so desperately to put my fears and anxieties aside and place it all in God’s hands.

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I’ll be the first person to admit that I prefer to be in control of things… most things… the things that I can control at least anyway. I’m not perfect; at times I find it hard to trust God but I know that He is the only one that I can trust as He is the one that – ultimately – is in control. Without him, I can do nothing.

How do you hand it all over to God? I’ve had to remind myself that God loves me and that He has my best interests at heart. I have to believe in Him and His divine will; His plan for me. It’s easier said than done, and it’s a real test of your pride.

I take solace in the following:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms 37:4

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in thee!” – Psalms 84:12

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Lord, lead me to Your perfect will.

Amen.

 

Is There Anything Wrong With a Couple of Drinks?

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My wife and I had guests over the other night and among our guests was a couple of a particular Christian denomination (I’m not sure which one). To make a long story short, we offered everyone some alcohol (glasses of wine, bottles of beer, etc.) to go with the meal and this couple made it pretty clear that they don’t drink. When I quizzed them [politely] about it, they said it was because of their Christian convictions. I asked them what their basis was for it, and the husband of the pair stumbled his way through Ephesians 5:18, which reads:
 
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.”
I looked at him for a second and I immediately knew what I was going to say back to him, but instead I thought I’d tease it out a bit just to see where’d go with it. So I asked him to clarify, “So is this a choice based on your religious convictions or a personal decision?” to which he replied, “It’s a choice I’ve made because of my relationship with Jesus Christ”. “Okay,” I continued “What if I told you that Christ himself tells us through scripture that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him?”
 
“… there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.” – Mark 7:15
I continued, “The thing to point out about Ephesians 5:18: ‘And do not get drunk with wine…’. The emphasis in this passage is on the verb, i.e. the doing word (‘drunk’); not the noun (‘wine’). Otherwise are we to assume it would be okay to get drunk with another type of strong drink if wine alone is forbidden?”
 He just looked at me blankly. So I continued with this:
“… And let’s not forget Christ’s first miracle: the Wedding at Cana in John 2:1-11. Are you aware that Christ first demonstrated his divine power by turning water into wine so the wedding guests could drink?”
“When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now’. This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” – John 2:9-11
Then there’s the Last Supper where Jesus and his disciples broke bread and shared wine, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the poor fellow with all of that truth, and it was at this point his wife very tactfully moved on the topic of discussion to something else, but after that last question I put to her husband he began to shift in his seat very awkwardly. I made him think; that’s all I wanted to do.

What’s important to understand though, is that even though it’s okay for a Christian to drink alcohol, it must be done in moderation; don’t let it lead you astray (Proverbs 20:1).

Later that night – after all of our guests had left – I poured myself a glass of red wine (a 2000 Margaret River merlot) and pondered the words of St. Paul:
 
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” – 1 Timothy 5:23

It was the best tasting drop I’d had all evening.

Musings on Marriage and “Rights”

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As I do from time, I get on Facebook and share a few thoughts on contemporary issues. The question was raised recently about whether a Catholic can support same-sex “marriage”. My response is a resounding “no”, and if you know me then that shouldn’t come as any surprise to you. What irritates me though, is those whom try to justify same-sex “marriage” by claiming that it is a “right”. Here’s what I have to think say about that:

What “rights” are we talking about? If we’re discussing basic human rights such as food, water, clothing, shelter, and a basic education, then yes: all people are entitled to these and access to them should not be inhibited. These are needs; same-sex “marriage” is a want.

It irks me, though, when marriage is referred to as a “right”. As a married man I can tell you that marriage is a privilege; I was not entitled to marriage although I was free to marry. That being said, I gave serious consideration to my vocation and wanted to be sure that if I was going to marry, then I had to be ready and man enough to be married; to be a good husband to my wife which would prepare me to be a father to my children. I am of course referring to marriage between husband and wife.

Christ makes a couple of interesting statements on marriage. The first on its indissolubility and “oneship” between man and wife:

“Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’ So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.’” – Matthew 19:4-6

We’re not just talking about civil unions here; we’re talking about a bond that was part of God’s plan from the very beginning: man and woman were made for each other, and through marriage they become one. The love between husband and wife reflects the divine love God has for us. As God’s love for us cannot be diminished, the nuptial bond between husband and wife is indissoluble and no one should interfere with that. We’re actually quite arrogant in our thinking that we can change what God has planned for us from the beginning.

There is then St. Paul’s commentary in Ephesians. Modern interpreters get hung up on the “wives, submit to your husband…” part, but read further on and see what is being asked of husbands in marriage:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27

How did Christ love the Church? He died for the Church. Husbands need to be willing to make sacrifices so as to sanctify and uphold their wives. This requires humility; putting the needs of the wife before that of the husband’s. A marriage, by God’s design, makes a statement: “Your will, Lord, before my own”. When we claim that marriage is a “right”, we are as a matter of fact saying, “My will before yours, Lord”.

“I want, I want, I want” is the spirit of the antichrist. Pride comes before the fall. This is a message for all people regardless of sexual orientation.

A Few Thoughts Regarding Prayer

I want to briefly mention something that’s been on my mind a lot of late, and that bothers me when I see certain comments made on open forums.

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I get that not everyone believes in God and while some of those people respect the personal/religious beliefs of others, there are, unfortunately, the few that attempt to goad the ire of theists by suggesting that we believe in the old, archaic, imaginary, etc. and that we are holding society back from so called “progression”. I don’t mind that you think that I believe in a “sky fairy” or if you think that my prayers are about as effective as throwing dust into the wind. I will also forgive you for thinking that I need to “evolve” and to adhere to a post-modernist frame of consciousness.

I believe in God. This is my creed. I also believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. While I may disagree with you on certain things, it does not mean that I love or respect you any less. Let me also tell you this: when I tell you that I will pray for you, what irks me is when others say in response, “Don’t bother” or “God doesn’t exist so what can He do anyway?”

When a Christian says, “I will pray for you” while they may otherwise be helpless in the situation you’re dealing with, it is the most powerful gift they can offer you because they believe in the power of prayer.

It’s funny that when others say, “You’re in my thoughts” or “I hope the best for you” that those comments are not met with a comparable level of scepticism. Such sentiments are good too and I’m not suggesting that they are not efficacious, but when a Christian says, “I will pray for you” they are putting their faith into action; they are interceding for you and asking for the Divine to help. If there is otherwise a practical way to help with the situation another may be facing, then I certainly hope that all – my fellow Christians especially – will do something practical to help. We are taught that “… faith without works is dead faith” (James 2:26).

If anything, prayer is a call for those needing comfort to be comforted, and we have full confidence that God will comfort those needing comfort. It is the best we can do from afar.

I love you all. God bless you.